Senator Kabiru Marafa, a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) from Zamfara State, has advised the two main opposition presidential candidates in the 2023 general elections to set aside their disagreements and back the President Bola Tinubu’s administration.
He said this over the weekend while answering questions from State House correspondence following a closed-door meeting with President Tinubu at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
The Apex court dismissed the appeals filed by the presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, and Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, against Tinubu’s victory at the polls.
Marafa who represented Zamfara Central senatorial district in the 7th and 8th Nigerian Senates (2011 to 2019) said the two respected elders must work together with the president to carry the country forward.
Marafa declared that it was time for them to take into account the suffering of the general public following the essential elimination of the premium motor spirit, or petrol subsidy.
“They have exhausted their rights. So, it is over. Let us now move to building Nigeria. Let us now look at the plight of the masses. You know things are very difficult and hard, which is occasioned by the removal of subsidy which is a must. I was the Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Petroleum Downstream. So, I know what is happening in the area. Also, the rate of the dollar is adding to the difficulties in the country,” he said.
When asked about his message to those that took the president to court, he said: “My prayer and wish for them is to bury their differences and join hands with Mr. President to move the country forward, especially given the problems we have across the nation. So, we need all hands on deck now. It is over. They have done what they are supposed to have done. The constitution gives them inherent rights to challenge the victory. But with the verdict of the apex court, the battle is over.
“Like the president said, he is going to concentrate on his job without giving anybody any opportunity to distract him. So, on their part, I wish they would join hands with Mr. President to move the country forward.
“When I lost the election, I congratulated the person who defeated me. I also promised that the best thing that I can give the people of Zamfara Central is to cooperate with whoever they choose to be their Senator to move the zone forward. Because they elected me twice and I won convincingly in the two elections.
“So, if now somebody says I lost, I think I should accept the fact that in any game, there are winners and there are losers. Yesterday, I was the winner and today, I lost. I should accept it and move forward, tomorrow is another day.So, I expect also at national level for our elders to do the same.”
On whether he thought President Tinubu should form a government of national unity, he said, “I am not Mr. President but I like the way you put the question ‘do you think’? I know Mr. President is a politician and he knows the game very well.
“He is the one to decide to say; now should I go ahead to form a government of national unity like I wanted to or having seen the behavior of the participants, I should abandon it.
“Their behavior from Thursday, I think will determine what the president will do. If they take the judgement with open hearts and extend a hand of friendship to Mr. President, I know the president will want to work with everybody. Governance is something that you need all hands on deck to succeed, especially in a complex country like Nigeria.
“So, today is my first visit to him, and I made it deliberate because I know the legal tussles by the opposition. The whole scenario came to an end on Thursday and I feel that I can kill two birds with one stone. One is to see him in his office, pray for him and also solicit his prayer for my struggles that I am doing outside.
“Then, after that, the next thing I discussed was Zamfara State politics. As you all know, he is a practicing politician. So, he knows inside-out of the political terrain in the country, especially Zamfara State. How it all started, he was at the center of everything….So, I took the president through that little history even though he knows, but I had wanted him to share the little history with him.”